If there is such a thing as a perfect weekend, then this was it.
Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know of my mini-obsession with RENT, the musical. Admittedly, I only really discovered it properly this year, despite learning lots of the songs in my teens at college, but after seeing it live in a local theatre this summer, I’ve become a huge fan…
For my birthday last month, The Bloke surprised me with tickets to the 20th Anniversary tour in London, along with a night in a hotel and train tickets, so I’ve been not-so-quietly looking forward to it for ages.
It also happened to coincide with the end of term (The Bloke works in a school), so he left a few hours earlier than everyone else and by 1.30pm we were on a train (complete with reserved seats, a power point and a table – he had thought of everything, bless him). I was grateful – the train was predictably rammed and ridiculously warm – so while we sat in our seats and talked nonsense at each other, everyone else was fighting for spaces.
After checking in we decided to take in the lights and displays of some of the major stores, something that we’ve talked about doing for years. Everything was just gorgeous – the weather, the lights, the atmosphere – and we had a really lovely time wandering through the crowds, taking pictures of the beautiful displays and listening to some really talented carol singers.
The theatre was just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, so we walked down the side of the mall to see the palace lit up at night. I’ve been there many times, but this was the first time I could stand at the front and didn’t have to jostle with tourists and their massive cameras! By the time we arrived at the theatre and sat down I was so excited that I had to consciously try and calm myself… It was only a small venue, but the seats were really comfortable and the set looked great.
It. Was. Amazing. I had to control myself from screaming enormous applause during particularly brilliant songs and refrain from singing my heart out from the audience. The cast were superb, the singing, acting and choreography were top notch and the whole thing was done beautifully. So much so, in fact, that I sobbed my heart out at the end and then cried again outside the theatre itself, along with a number of gay men who were doing the same. The poor Bloke – he gave me a hug while I snivelled mascara all over him. I’ve been lucky enough to see a number of shows over the years, but I’ve never been moved to tears before.
We decided the next day to go into some of the bigger stores. I wanted a decoration for the Christmas tree, just because, so we went into Liberty and then called into Hamleys. NEVER AGAIN. Chaos isn’t a big enough word to describe it. Of course, going in on a Saturday, at Christmas time, was probably not the brightest idea I’ve ever had, but the madness that was happening (particularly for someone like me who isn’t a fan of small children) isn’t something I would like to experience again in a hurry.
We had one thing on the agenda for the afternoon: find Anthony Rapp. Anthony played the original Mark on Broadway in Rent and by sheer chance he was doing a series of shows in the studio theatre below the venue where we had watched Rent the night before. He’s musical theatre royalty, and this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see him in person, so we decided to go back to the theatre and wait for him to show up for his performance. The matinee of rent was due to start at 2.30 and his started at 3, so we figured that if we arrived half-an-hour before, the main audience would have already gone in and we would stand a better chance of saying hello.
Unfortunately, there was a technical issue happening, which meant that by 2.45, all of the audience were still waiting to go in. And then, I saw him and ran over, fearing that everyone else would get in front of me. I said hello, asked him for a photo, during which he very graciously obliged, and by the time everyone else realised who it was, he’d gone in! I was the only person to get a photo with him.
The Bloke had brought his SLR and managed to get a few pics of me accosting Anthony from a distance, then he proceeded to laugh at me as I jumped up and down, squeaked everywhere and sent the pic across all of my social media.
To top it all off, I tweeted him later to say thank you and Anthony liked it!
And now, I’m sat on the train, travelling home, and trying to process what an amazing time we’ve had. The lights, the fun and conversation, the show, the happy tears and then meeting Anthony… It was the cherry on the icing on the delicious cake that was a thoroughly brilliant weekend!
What a lucky girl I am. I’m going to take The Bloke to see the new Star Wars film tomorrow to say thanks…
What about you guys? Have you had a nice weekend?
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